At 1,200kms, the 7th Giro was planned around a less punishing itinerary than previous years with more emphasis on enjoyment along the way, attracting riders from as far afield as Perth and Adelaide. Despite this it still demanded roadside repairs and late night pit work to keep things rolling, and that’s the beauty of this event.
Five days riding every worthwhile mountain road through some truly spectacular countryside around Boonah and Woodford was the perfect way to enjoy the Queensland winter sunshine and produced the best riding yet. Many of the 35 entrants brought multiple bikes, from Aermacchi, Benelli, Ducati (including 7 yellow Desmos and 350 & 500 Parallel Twins) to Laverda, Moto Guzzi and Moto Morini.
In a first for this event, scooters were an invited class and were represented by a 1951 Lambretta Model C 125cc long distance competition (Bill Guthrie), a 1965 Lambretta LI 150 Series 3 (Siobhan Ellis) and a Vespa Rally 180 (Ian Brill). The Scooters…well, they’re crazy but loveable. One of their redeeming attributes is they carry a full kit of tools plus spares and consumables, including oil, fuel and a spare wheel! What they lacked in speed they made up for in enthusiasm – I guess you’ve got to be passionate to ride those little wheels over tough roads.
Os to in the spares department despite him producing, in no particular order, a 6V Condenser, Chain Master Link, and Clutch Cable from his 18kg back pack to applause and gratitude from the thankful recipients.
An unseasonal storm front on the first day descended as we departed Queen Mary falls for a fuel stop at Killarney. Luckily we dodged most of the light hail by sheltering at the servo, then rode on over bumpy wet roads to wooden bong for a hearty lunch. It left the bikes with an authentic patina that developed its own baked on character over the remaining sunny days. The Boonah legs were inspiring with revised routes around the Scenic Rim better suiting the singles, providing plenty of tight mountain curves.
As first timer Bill Guthrie recounts: “The arrival of these scooters brought some whimsical merriment out in fellow riders during registration on the evening before day one. It looked like the owners of the parallel twins would be spared the injustice of their continual jibes at least for the short term.
“After a growing appreciation for the smaller wheeled (Lambretta) machines began to emerge, the much benighted taunts of the parallel twins from the wider field of experienced Ducati owners slowly resumed.
“As each day progressed the roads got better and the sights just kept on improving. The Woodford area seems made for two wheel riding, with its long winding hills and panoramic views. Despite my early retirement I enjoyed the comraderiee amongst the riders and we were made to feel welcome by all. Siobhan gave a short history lesson on Lambretta scooters during Friday night’s entertainment. By the end of her presentation several riders expressed a desire to own a Lambretta thus was the influence our scooters were having, or perhaps it was just the alcohol talking.”
The social side was continued on the Saturday night with John Stoddart recounting his visit to the Barber Vintage Festival and the hilarious catwalk presentation of the “come dressed in the year of your bike” parade. Competition was fierce, if a tad auteur, with the judges unable to separate the final 3 entrants. Jim, Siobhan and Neill are still fighting over the bottle of wine…
The ‘Giro again brought out the best in people with all selflessly offering parts, labor, advice and spare bikes to keep everyone riding. Muffler brackets were welded, dodgy Italian electrics repaired, mercy dashes taken to strip parts off mates’ bikes and afternoon beers drunk in the pits are as much a part of the experience as the riding. It was a great mix of old and new faces who share at their core a passion for these simple pleasures. Thanks to all who contributed to making this event so memorable.